On March 22, 2012, the Des Moines chapters of IPMS mourn the loss of a very dear friend. Chuck was a man of many talents, and an amazing friend.
Chuck Sterns was born 25 May 1939. He began modelling around the age of 10, his beloved wife Judy & son Mike tell me.
Chuck saw what could be, instead of what was, as many modelers & artists do. Some of his earliest projects were USSR aircraft, that he'd carve from Balsa, as no kit existed yet, and coat with foil. He vac-formed his own canopies, scratch built complete cockpits.
Chuck grew up, alongside, and immersed our hobby. From the old Monogram Super Kit, wood parts, and believe it or don't, 15 PLASTIC pieces to complete your replica, To the newest issue from the mainstream manufacturers.
The MiG-15 Super-Kit still resides in Chuck's Inventory.
Chuck was the official Artist for the Iowa Air National Guard and also served with the 133rd Aircraft & Warning Unit. In addition to his 'Guard works, Chuck's paintings could be seen on box art for Glencoe Modes and AMT. Chuck's modeling talent also adorned box art for Italeri. Many of his works, were U.S. Naval subjects as well. The obscure &The Prototype were no stranger to our Master Sterns. As a commercial artist, Chuck's works ran from Aircraft to Landscapes. I thought his job gave him an advantage in modelling. Lucky Chuck! He was also a "Plankowner' in both of our local Model Clubs. The Hawkeye Modelers in 1969, and The IPMS Plastic Surgeons, in 1994. Chuck was a contributor in the large 1/72 scale diorama display for the 45th Annual 8th Army Air Force reunion His sage advice on technique & basic model skills were readily available, to encourage the "cubs" of our hobby.
As destiny would have it, the combination of Technique, Cigarettes, lacquer paint, mineral spirits, and enamels (you remember, the stuff that works really good!) led to Chuck's contraction of a terminal respiratory disorder not so many years ago. To his dismay, our Chuck could no longer airbrush, sand, glue, or smoke.
He gave away started kits (there were many) to his friends, to be finished. The proviso was, we had to finish them & bring them back for him to evaluate & admire. Of note was his Vacuform AJ-1 Savage, that Robbie finished, and entered in the 2011 IPMS Nationals, in Omaha. I made a Captain Scarlet Angel Interceptor into a U.S. Navy VX test aircraft. Our Chuck was pleased, and envious. 1,000-odd completed Aircraft models reside in his basement "Aviation Heritage Museum". Carved wood, Vac-forms, Resin & Plastic kits abound. From the Grumman FF-1 FiFi, to the Convair B-36 Target, er, Peacemaker. All just so. All intricate, miniature, works of art themselves. He continued to paint amazing watercolors, as his health allowed.
Chuck took his trip up to Heaven, 22 March 2012 after lunchtime. Tenderly embraced by his loving wife Judy, and his lovely daughter Julie, He gave in to the Heavenly Father's desire for him to be at peace. Life ends, most assuredly, for every man. Not every Man truly lives. Chuck Sterns lived, and loved, in not so many years, more than many of us will know in our whole lifetime. He'd doggedly clung to life, because of his great love for his Wife, Judy, His treasured family, and his fellows. It was a privilege to know Chuck & Judy Sterns. They were truly one heart. Lovebirds. Wondrous to see.
We honor Chuck, by our humility to our peers, passing on his legacy of generosity, cheer, courage, kindness to younger modelers, supporting other clubs. Growing the Hobby. The hearts of our membership go out to The Sterns & Pettorini families.
Chris Rhiner, IPMS Plastic Surgeons.